In winter, soup is a cook’s best friend.

We find comfort even before we sit down to dinner — browning aromatics, eking flavor from a tangle of bones. Tasting, tweaking and tasting again until we arrive at a brew that warms both body and soul.

But what do we do in summer? Shun our steadfast pal? Cast aside what sustained us though dark times? Say goodbye? Adieu? Adios?

Well, yes. But emphatically, no.

Maybe we greet soup’s chill summer cousins: tonics that cheer us as temperatures spike and patience in the kitchen plummets to its annual low.

Consider the study in contrasts:

Winter soups are soothing. Summer soups are surprising.

Winter soups require pots. Summer soups can be born in a blender.

Winter soups abide storage vegetables. Summer soups summon the best and the brightest the garden has to offer.

We could line up the usual suspects — the vichyssoise of France or gazpacho of Spain — both of which are delicious. But part of the fun of summer is veering off the beaten path.

More fun comes at serving time:

Can soup find a home in a martini glass? Yes, indeed, it can. Got soup shot glasses that haven’t seen the light of day since that craze died out? Time to line ’em up.

Is there a punch bowl lurking in some closet? Dust it off. Pour appetizers from a pitcher — well, sure, of course, why not?

Occupying a space between salad and smoothie, the soups offered here can serve as a starter while stoking the grill, anchor lunch at the patio table or sit pretty as the first course for a civilized summer supper.

Per yield, I’ve dispensed with “number of servings,” and given quantity in terms of cups. As an appetizer, half a cup is ample. If it’s more of a main, you’ll likely want to ramp that up.

These soups like to hang out in the fridge. You can make them the night before. The viscosity (sip-able, or spoon-able?) is up to you. Less processing keeps them chunky. More renders them highly quaffable.

So, soup lovers — let’s relax. Chill out. And sip on. 

Jo Marshall is a Minneapolis ad writer with an appetite for food, history and culture. Reach her at

Chilled Carrot Soup With Fines Herbes Mousse

Makes 3 1/2 cups.

Note: Yes, this soup requires time at the stove. But, hey, it’s from Thomas Keller — the mega-Michelin-starred chef of the French Laundry. If you can’t find chervil, use more tarragon. One bit of advice: Watch the pan closely toward the end of cooking. The carrots/cooking liquid can go from “evaporated” to caramelized in a matter of moments. From “Saveur, the New Classics.”

For the soup:

• 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-in. rounds

• 2 1/2 c. fresh carrot juice, divided

• 1 tsp. unsalted butter

• 1 tsp. honey

• Pinch of curry powder

• 1/2 c. heavy cream

• Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

For the mousse:

• 1/4 c. crème fraîche

• 1 fresh chive, finely chopped

• 1 sprig parsley, leaves only, finely chopped

• 1 sprig fresh chervil, leaves only, finely chopped (see Note)

• 1 sprig tarragon, leaves only, finely chopped


To prepare soup: Put carrots, 1 1/4 cups carrot juice, butter, honey and curry powder in a medium pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until liquid has evaporated and carrots are soft, about 1 hour. Add cream, increase heat to medium and simmer for 3 minutes.

Purée carrot mixture and remaining 1 1/4 cups carrot juice in a blender. (If you have an immersion blender, do it in a large mixing bowl; it’s easier.) Pass through a fine meshed sieve into a bowl, if desired. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Taste for seasoning just before serving, and adjust if you like.

To prepare mousse: Whisk crème fraîche in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold in chopped herbs.

Divide soup into serving vessels. (Bowl? Mug? Martini glass?) Add dollop of mousse on each serving.

Nutrition information per ½-cup serving:

Calories 130 Fat 9 g Sodium 80 mg

Carbohydrates 12 g Saturated fat 6 g Total sugars 6 g

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 30 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 carb, 2 fat.

Cold Cream of Cucumber With Dill and Yogurt

Makes 6 1/2 cups.

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. Inspired by the Indian relish raita, this is soup is as cool as a cucumber with a major hit of tang. If your food processor is too small for all the ingredients, use it for only the vegetables, along with lemon juice to moisten. Then transfer the puréed mixture to a bowl and whisk in yogurt and cream. From “Williams-Sonoma Soups.”

• 6 unpeeled cucumbers, each about 5 in. long, ends trimmed, cut into large chunks

• 4 kosher dill pickles, cut into chunks

• 2 c. plain low-fat yogurt

• 2 c. heavy cream

• 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill or 1 tbsp. dried

• Salt and white pepper to taste

• Fresh dill sprigs or dried dill to garnish


Put cucumbers, pickles, yogurt, cream, lemon juice and dill in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until vegetables are finely chopped. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Cover tightly and refrigerate until well chilled, 2 to 3 hours, or overnight. Before serving, taste for seasoning, and adjust if you like. Garnish with additional dill.

Nutrition information per ½-cup serving:

Calories 150 Fat 12 g Sodium 205 mg

Carbohydrates 8 g Saturated fat 8 g Total sugars 6 g

Protein 4 g Cholesterol 45 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: ½ milk, 2½ fat.


Grape Gazpacho

Makes about 4 cups.

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. Soup is a sweet surprise — taking cues from a classic gazpacho, with grapes standing in for tomatoes. From “The New Basics Cookbook,” by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

• 1 c. green seedless grapes

• 1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled

• 3/4 c. peeled and coarsely chopped cucumber

• 1/2 c. seeded and coarsely chopped green bell pepper

• 1/2 c. coarsely chopped celery

• 1/2 c. coarsely chopped green onions

• 1 1/2 c. white grape juice

• 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

• 2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves

• Salt and white pepper to taste

• More mint, or lime zest to garnish


Purée the grapes, avocado, cucumber, green pepper, celery and onions (in batches, if necessary) in a food processor, adding grape juice as needed to prevent clogging. Do not completely liquefy — small vegetable chunks add interest and texture.

Transfer mixture to a bowl. Stir in remaining grape juice, lime juice and chopped mint, along with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.

Taste again at serving time, adjust seasoning as needed, and garnish with mint sprigs or lime zest.

Nutrition information per ½-cup serving:

Calories 75 Fat 3 g Sodium 10 mg

Carbohydrates 13 g Saturated fat 0 g Total sugars 10 g

Protein 1 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 carb, ½ fat.


Radish Buttermilk Soup

Makes about 4 cups.

Note: Slavic countries incorporate radishes into cold soups. From

• 1/2 lb. trimmed radishes, quartered (1 1/4 c.)

• 3/4 lb. seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped), peeled and chopped (2 c.)

• 2 c. well-shaken chilled buttermilk

• 1 tsp. kosher salt

• 1 tsp. seasoned rice vinegar

• 1/2 tsp. sugar

• Thinly sliced radish and/or cucumber for garnish


Purée all radishes, cucumber, buttermilk, salt, vinegar and sugar in a blender until very smooth. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator. Before serving, taste for seasoning and correct if needed. Garnish with radish or cucumber.

Nutrition information per ½-cup serving:

Calories 35 Fat 1 g Sodium 375 mg

Carbohydrates 6 g Saturated fat 0 g Total sugars 4 g

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 2 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: ½ carb.